Eleven People Charged After Albino Man Found Murdered With Body Parts Missing
A young albino man has been found buried in Malawi with several of his body parts missing.
Eleven people including a catholic priest are facing charges relating to his death.
McDonald Masambuka, 22, was found buried in southern Malawi in March after having been missing for several weeks.
He is one of 22 albino people who have been murdered in the last four years in Malawi. It is thought they have been killed by those who believe that people with albinism - a lack of pigment in skin, eyes, and hair - have magical properties. Their body parts are used in rituals and to make magical potions.
Outraged people in Malawi have called for the death penalty for those who kidnap and murder albinos.
As well as a priest, Father Thomas Muhosha, a police officer and a medical professional are also facing charges related to the death, police have said.
Malawi's information minister said that there was pressure on the country to stop them using the death penalty against people who track down and kill albinos for their body parts.
At Masambuka's funeral last month, Minister Nicholas Dausi said: "They are stopping us from enforcing capital punishment, yet in their countries they execute murderers. Is this fair?"
Malawi stopped executing prisoners 20 years ago. However, the president of the country, Peter Mutharika, has spoken about how he thinks there needs to be a debate about reintroducing it.
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Though it is not used, the death penalty is still allowed in Malawian law. Human rights groups have spoken out against the use of the law, which is now considered unconstitutional.
They say that efforts to catch and bring to justice the people committing the crimes, as well as protecting albinos, would be more helpful than discussing executing those who have committed the crimes.
The head of the Association of People with Albinism - an organisation that cares for 3,400 people with the condition - also supported the idea that execution does not offer that much of a deterrent.
Overstone Kondowe said: "We never have any experience where the death penalty has been successful as a deterrent."
Kondowe's group has recorded nearly 150 attacks on albinos since 2014. Sub-Saharan Africa is known to have a higher number of people with the condition.
Of the 22 people killed, only five of the cases have been brought to court, Kondowe said.
"We don't have even have a suspect and nobody has been prosecuted," he said.
"We didn't have facilities of DNA testing to help with the investigation, so we're seeking that because the current capacity can help to shed light on who was responsible."
Featured Image Credit: PA